A recent flag display at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island was a great example of how a simple, powerful display can keep people talking about the issue of abortion.
The flag display is educational, not a protest, which seems to make it more effective for starting and continuing conversations. Throughout the day of the flag display, the Youth Protecting Youth pro-life group engaged respectfully with interested parties and with protesters who eventually dismantled the display and dumped the flags in a pile.
Media coverage the day of the event was balanced and clear, and it didn’t end there. Now, two weeks later, the university paper published another article about the event, indicating that the issue did not die with the dismantling of the display.
Author Sarah Suleman wrote an excellent piece on the need for open debate, and the sad state of affairs when university students are unwilling to hear points of view they disagree with. She asks:
“…after the events of the demonstration led by Youth Protecting Youth on Nov. 16, my mind is left overridden with questions surprisingly unrelated to abortion: When did we stop listening to one another? And when did we become so cemented in our opinions that we let the conversation die? …I wonder if the all-consuming fear of allowing hate at school campuses has somehow caused a similar hate to develop inside ourselves instead: a deeply burning hate towards opinions that differ from our own.
She concludes with a call to do better. This is an encouraging call for minority groups who feel shut out of debates for failing to follow the lure of popular opinion:
“We have to respectfully keep the dialogue alive — no matter if we uncover an answer or not.”